At CAULIPOWER, we're not just about hacking your favorite foods to make them healthier and easier, we're also obsessed with all the little ways you can make LIFE healthier and easier. The #1 time life is not those things is the holidays, and that's why we've created this guide to a perfect holiday dinner party without straining your schedule or wallet.
1. Choose a theme
We know you're asking yourselves, won't that take even more time? On the contrary, a theme can streamline decor, food, activities, and all the shopping that goes into making those blah party standards come to life. A single color can often be your saving grace – as a theme, it's not terribly overdone (like all those Game of Thrones weddings you attended this year), and it's by far the easiest to implement. We'll get you started: Going Green in 2018. All your decorations are fresh evergreen garlands, twinkly green lights, linens, and (our favorite part), foods! This opens the door to a healthier, lighter spread that will not only stand out amongst the labored, decadent meals associated with the season, but also make it that much easier to bring all diets and allergies together over veggies, herbs, and absinthe punch.
2. Make dinner the activity
Save on prep time and keep guests entertained with an interactive meal. Taco Tuesday, Stir Fry-day, or Ice Cream Sunday, there's no limit to the build-your-own puns you can put on the table. Last week, we concluded our carol-themed recipe series, 12 Days of Pizza, and those ideas are a great way to jumpstart your build-your-own-pizza party planning (and incorporate tip #1 above).
3. Decorate with groceries
The grocery store can be a one-stop-shop, if you plan it just right. Go to the florist and pick up some cranberry bush twigs or poinsettias you can use as table accents. Fresh rosemary looks just like mini pine trees, making a charming, natural place-setting embellishment. And all hail the versatile pomegranate – you can fill a bowl with the fruit and some accent greenery for a festive centerpiece, or they can replace red ornaments in a tall glass jar on your appetizer table. You can also simmer cinnamon, clove, orange peel, tea, and cider in a stockpot all night for an intoxicating holiday aroma to waft through every room. Don't forget to swing by the freezer aisle for more CAULIPOWER – a quick, nutritious snack to fuel your creativity.
4. Serve everyone the same food
As we learn more about the benefits of plant-based diets and allergies and food sensitivities become more easily diagnosed, it has become increasingly difficult for a party host to accommodate the growing variety of guests' needs. Instead of making 20 versions of the same dish, make one amazingly delicious version that everyone can enjoy. Our naturally gluten-free, cauliflower-based crusts make a great pizza base for dairy-free, gluten-free vegetarians (and those who may fall into just 1 or 2 of those categories). Or take a peek at '4 Veggie Alternatives You Should Meat' for other ways to transform even the meatiest dishes into satisfying, nutritious holiday sensations.
5. Trick your guests into cleaning up afterward
Create unique gifts that will be used during the party, but can also be charming tokens to take home. For example, surprise everyone by having them turn over their plates to find each one has been engraved with their name and the date of the party. Or go simpler and more cost-effective by using tip #3 above to make custom, all-natural mini mason jar bouquets or decked-out wine glasses. If you went with a build-your-own concept, the gift can even be custom holiday to-go containers for their leftovers. Believe us, they'll appreciate having one less meal to worry about perhaps more than any other gift.
So, don't just hack your food, hack the holidays – they should be spent enjoying great times with great people (emphasis on time).